McCarthy's nomination delayed until next year

Friday, November 19th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The federal judicial nomination of Frank McCarthy is still in limbo, held over until next year after the Senate Judiciary Committee again refused to bring it up.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has shifted from endorsing McCarthy's nomination to a neutral stance as he waits for more answers on McCarthy's views on the death penalty. Inhofe, R-Okla., expressed support for the delay in the nomination.

McCarthy's nomination ran into trouble after the Tulsa World republished comments he had made in the mid-1980s against the death
penalty. Then, McCarthy said as he was leaving the public defender's office to become a federal prosecutor that he would never prosecute a death penalty case.

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, he told senators he would have no reservations in imposing the death penalty law.

Some senators, including Inhofe, have asked McCarthy to clarify his position. The committee failed to bring up the confirmation this week and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the panel's chairman, said Thursday that
no more meetings will be scheduled until after Congress convenes next year.

Inhofe said McCarthy, a federal magistrate, needs to do more to either refute or elaborate his 1985 statements that the death penalty is immoral and that society has no right to impose such a penalty.

"No, I'm not. I'm not necessarily supporting him," Inhofe said when asked he still backs the nomination. "I want to wait and see
what elaboration there can be, and I'll wait for that." Inhofe said he wasn't opposing the nomination. "I'm not either way right now," he said.

Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., continues to support McCarthy. McCarthy and two other applicants from a field of four were endorsed by Nickles and Inhofe, who hold veto power over any Oklahoma nomination in a GOP-controlled Senate. President Clinton
sent McCarthy's name to the Senate for confirmation. The nomination will not have to be resubmitted and the committee may pick up the issue again after returning for the 2000 session.